Taking a sabbatical from New Jersey and New Jersey artists, I recently journeyed home to Scotland to see my family, friends and stock up on decent chocolate. While there I met up with various people in the art world whom I would like to introduce to the American continent. I will be featuring them on Examiner.com in the future.
This one is an old friend who is now a working artist in Edinburgh. Carrie Paxton works in glass, producing functional attractive pieces which – hallelujah! - are selling. She has built her business and is doing what many artists only dream of – designing, producing and selling her art.
Carrie's glass pieces are designed and handmade in her own workshop in Edinburgh, Scotland. Each piece is made from clear float glass and is handpainted with frits and enamels which means each piece has its own personality and individuality. She explains her technique: “ I like to draw directly onto glass using black tracing paint. Sometimes I draw over a fired on background colour or outline detail on a finished design.” This hands on technique makes all her pieces, even repeat designs, one of a kind.
She has two kilns in her workshop where the designs are fired onto the glass, sometimes up to three times, and the glass is allowed to 'slump' into the molds which give the plates and bowls their shapes. The edges of each piece is then sanded which ensures more individual work and care.
The inspiration for Carrie's designs comes from various avenues: Scottish songs and legend, local wildlife, 1950s designs. As they say, something for everyone. She is drawn to the colours and kitsch of 1950s and 60s design. She has a gorgeous range of crustaceans which would be just at home on the Jersey shore as in Scottish waters. Her wrens and robins are big sellers and her 'Three Craws' is a personal favourite as it harks back to a childrens' song in auld lowlands Scots.
“I like to draw freely onto the glass and find that an urgent, loose style suits me,” she says. “It has taken me a few years to gain the confidence to use this approach. I liken the glass to plain canvas or paper to which I can apply design. I use only clear float glass and all colour and texture is applied by hand.”
This loose, freestyle approach makes Carrie's work look fresh and custom-made, disguising all the designing, planning, and artisanal skill in producing these eye-catching pieces.
She graduated from Edinburgh Art college having studied Architectural Glass followed by a post grad in design and set up her own business in 2010. Her business has grown each year and she supplies shops and galleries throughout Scotland, including Orkney and Lewis and down into many parts of England. She counts among her customers the prestigious Jenners and Valvona and Crolla of Edinburgh.
She has also designed and made larger individual pieces for galleries and on commission. And to round out her range she has cards, pillows, tote bags and aprons all sporting her designs.
If a trip to Scotland is out of the question, we can still see Carrie's work on this side of the pond through the miracle of the internet. Her work is well publicised and beautifully photographed on several sites and is available to order even 3000 miles away.